Strategies For Successfully Taking A Time Out

You just aren’t built to go non-stop. None of us are. Even marathon runners have to stop to sleep during their training. Humans are not machines, no matter how hard we try to be. We can’t keep going without burning out. At some point we have to stop, take a breather, and reboot. In recovery, we call this “self care”, for those who are learning the art of adulting, you can consider it a time out. Taking a time out, or forcing yourself to take one, is no longer a manner of being punished. It’s a necessity for sustainable energy both physical, spiritual, and mental. You  need to take a total time off in order to maintain fresh perspective.

In recovery, and in life, we learn we have to take time off from many things- jobs, relationships, demands. There’s only one thing we don’t get a break from and that’s staying sober. It’s the only thing we have to do consistently all day. Taking time out’s in other forms is one of the ways we help ourselves stay sober. When we let too much stress build up, when we run ourselves ragged, or we become exhausted, we risk falling into resentment, developing cravings, and relapsing.

Create Well Defined You Time

You have to go to the same lengths to schedule time for yourself as you do for everyone else. As Jim Carrey hilariously said in The Grinch when he exhaustedly ran through his busy schedule: “Dinner with me- I can’t cancel that again!”. We have to set appointments with ourselves which tell everyone else we are busy. Many of us “try” to make time for ourselves, but find it gets interrupted by having to make time for everyone else. Your you time has to be for you. Treat it like it an executive retreat, the time you need to study for a test at school, a meeting, or a doctor’s appointment. It’s a matter of priority. Taking a timeout is taking time to prioritize taking care of yourself.

Do Something Special During Your Time

The idea of being with oneself or taking care of oneself without distraction is really uncomfortable for some people. We aren’t used to being our own best company. Back in the height of our addictions, we were rarely just with ourselves. Many of us drank and used drugs to the point of isolation. When we were alone, we were accompanied by substances. Fill your you time with the things you love as well as time for just being. Book a massage, go for a run, see a movie alone, go for a hike, take a surf, go solo camping- the possibilities are endless. You won’t be bored with yourself.


LEAD Recovery Center designed an extended care program to help you learn how to live an autonomous and independent life free from the bondages of drug and alcohol addiction. Our immersive nature experiences and adventure therapy coupled with mentorship and clinical therapy help men and women create their best lives while transitioning through treatment. For more information, call 1-800-380-0012.